Golden Energy: beets and nettle tea

Today I needed a healthy dose of yellow. I gathered together my favorite yellow foods, onion, turmeric, beets, lentils, potato and nettle tincture.    yellow beats

Arlo is reaching for a beet and in the arms of his grandma. He won’t eat the red ones but he loves the yellow ones. Milder perhaps? I quartered these and boiled them in an inch of water. Then I ran cold water over them and pushed their peels off easily with my fingers.

yellow1 I found a sweet onion at the market and I could smell its sweetness as I cut into it. I poured some lentils into the pan along with some sesame and peanut oil, and beet water left over from boiling the beets. The lentils will absorb this and become soft in 10/15 minutes.

potato

The veggies also include some shitake from the farmers market and a potato that I thought would be sweet, but it tasted like a pretty average potato to me. I cheated and cooked it in the microwave for 4 min.

turmeric

I used a lot of turmeric, but you can’t go wrong. It is a smokey flavor but not overly rich. It makes everything an even richer golden color. Even the onions turned into beautiful golden transparent wedges. A little dill and cilantro. A few dashes of salt.

yellow dish

Cut up some dried apricots and sprinkle them in if you have them…or golden raisins and almond slivers. I served it with plain yogurt, a nice sour side dish that also helps me digest my food.

nettle ffiled

My mom and I hiked out to the nettle bed at the opposite end of the hay field. We also found some beautiful dried purple Dock. A plant famous for it’s resilience. Arlo was a little runny in the nose from allergies, but he hung in there, literally. The nettle bed has been pushed to the side this year by long grass. You will want to clip the top four or five leaves of the plant, the new growth, so don’t wait too late in the season like I did. An ideal time for nettle is about mid July.

bag o nettle I have heard that indigenous peoples pick the nettle with a special gesture that prevents them from getting stung. I do not know this technique and have tried using rubber gloves, plastic bags and scissors. I walk away with ouchy stings every time.

nettle 2Between me starting my first period since pregnancy and my mom’s hot flashes, the nettle is perfect for balancing hormones and gives us a heavy dose of vitamin D. It is also good for weight loss I hear. I boiled the nettle leaves with lemon balm and spearmint leaves. We soaked the foliage for a few hours in a big steel pot. Then we rinsed and boiled it for about an hour on low. I pulled the leaves out before they turned brownish green.

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Wolfgang Laib

He is one of my most favorite artists. He decided to be an artist instead of a monk. Here he is sifting pollen from hazelnuts that he collected himself. His work is visual medicine. I look at this piece and I am reminded how healing yellow is. Just looking at it I feel energized. In this case, the color and the substance carry powerful meaning, of fecundity and rejuvenation.

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Cauliflower & Parsnip Gratin

cauliflower gratin

Hey Yo! I wanted to make a low carb version of “Mac & Cheese” made with vegetables instead of macaroni. All the ingredients I thought of using for this were white, so I embraced the monochromatic theme and thought of it as a white cheddar mac, even though there wasn’t any cheddar in it, if that makes sense.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 (or more) parsnips
  • 1 can of butter beans
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp of butter
  • 3 Tbsp of flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk (warmed)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp of horseradish
  • Salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes to taste

Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets.  Peel and cut the parsnips into pale rounds. Spread out the veggies on a large baking tray, coat with some olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg and roast in the oven on high (375-400) till tender about 20 minutes. For faster cooking time, steam the veggies in a covered pot of 1-2″ of water for about 8 -10 min. and drain.

cauliflower

While the veggies are roasting, prepare the sauce, a basic ‘roux’ of roughly equal parts flour and fat. Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a sauce pan on low. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 min. Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of flour at a time, stir thoroughly into melted butter. Slowly add warmed milk, stirring frequently. Turn off heat and add 3/4 cup of shredded cheese and 1 Tbsp of Horseradish. I used the last of the Italian 5 cheese blend I had, a mix of Mozzarella, Provolone, Romano, Asiago and Parmesan.

Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with butter. Pile up your roasted (or steamed) cauliflower and parsnips into the baking pan. Mix in 1 can of drained butter beans. I pureed 1/2 the can of beans and added it to the sauce, but this is optional, whole beans add a nice texture. Butter beans are a great starchy substitute for pasta, and add protein. Pour sauce over veggie and bean mixture. Stir in 2 handfuls of Panko bread crumbs.

Sprinkle the remainder of cheese (1/4 cup) and another handful of Panko on top. Brighten with a dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Bake for 10-15 minutes till golden and bubbly on top.

plated cauliflower gratin

Served with a simple salad of spinach, tomato, avocado, black olives and marinated artichoke hearts.

Some variations that I think would work well next time I make this, would be to add either imitation crab meat, mushrooms, carrots or sweet potatoes (not all together). Put your own spin on it! It was as comforting as Mac and Cheese but with healthier carbs and loaded with hardy vegetables.

sewing dog bed

In other news, Jazzy dog is enjoying the new custom bed cover I sewed for her.